PM Shehbaz says IMF giving Pakistan tough time over unlocking loan
- Announces compensation for Peshawar suicide blast victims
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was giving Pakistan a tough time over unlocking a $1-billion loan at a time when the country’s economic situation is “unimaginable”.
Pakistan secured a $6-billion IMF bailout in 2019, which was topped up with another $1 billion last year. However, the programme has been stalled since September last year, aggravating the economic situation in Pakistan.
An IMF delegation is in Islamabad to restart stalled talks for the ninth review of the programme.
However, reports suggest the two sides are locked over key issues including reforms of the power sector and taxation measures.
PM addresses Apex Committee after Peshawar blast
Meanwhile, the PM addressed the Apex Committee meeting in Peshawar following the suicide attack in the city. The meeting was attended by the chief of army staff, chief ministers of all provinces and other senior officials.
“The terms that we have to meet with the IMF are beyond imagination,” said PM Shehbaz.
“Despite all these problems, the Centre is with you. We will strengthen the CTD (Counter Terrorism Department) to the best of our abilities; we are here to serve you.”
PM announces compensation for Peshawar suicide blast victims
The PM also announced compensation for the victims of the Peshawar suicide blast which claimed the lives of 101 people, mostly police personnel on Monday.
The PM said the amount of Rs2 million will be disbursed among martyrs’ families and Rs0.5 million will be given to the injured.
“In the wake of this incident, undue criticism was seen on social media. This is certainly condemnable.
“The occurrence of the incident due to security lapses will be probed. But saying this was a drone attack and similar related accusations were uncalled for in this tragic time.”
He said it was the need of the hour that provinces and the Centre along with the leaderships of political parties shun their differences.
“We should unite and tackle this.”
‘Suicide bomber was wearing a police uniform’
On Thursday, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) Police Chief Moazzam Jah Ansari said that the police was “closing in” on the terror network behind the suicide attack.
During a presser, he said the police had found ball bearing from the blast site in a suicide jacket from underneath the rubble of the mosque.
“This was a suicide bomber and we have traced him. The CCTV footage showed his movement from Khyber Road to the Police Lines and how he parked his motorcycle on a side,” he said, adding that the bomber was wearing a police uniform.
Closing in on terror network behind Peshawar mosque suicide blast: KP police chief
Ansari said that the attacker entered from the main gate and talked to a constable and asked him where the mosque was.
“This means that the attacker was not aware of the area..he was given a target and there is an entire network behind him … he was not a lone ranger.”
He said that policemen at entrance of the Police Lines did not check the attacker because “they thought he was their own”.
Ansari revealed that 10-12kg of TNT was used in the blast.
“The explosion was so powerful that the shockwaves did not find ways to escape hence, forcing the roof of the mosque to collapse,” he said.
He added that the mosque also lacked pillars and everyone in the mosque at the time of the attack came under the roof debris.
The police chief said that the police had raised their voice against the attack to “take revenge for each and every martyr”.
“The sacrifices of the policemen will not go in vain.”
PM Shehbaz calls an all-party conference
PM Shehbaz on Thursday also called an all-party conference (APC) on February 7 by inviting all the political leadership, including PTI chairman Imran Khan, to hold deliberations on the challenges faced by the country, including terrorism and the economic crisis.
Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Sardar Ayaz Sadiq contacted senior PTI leaders including former Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser and former Defence Minister Pervez Khattak and extended the prime minister’s invitation to the PTI chairman to participate in the APC.
According to a statement, all stakeholders, senior officers of police, rangers and senior officers of the country’s intelligence agencies will participate in the apex committee meeting at the Governor’s House.
The meeting will deliberate upon the incident of terrorism that happened in the mosque of Peshawar Police Lines on January 30. It added that the meeting will also consider measures to eradicate terrorism.
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